Do you bite your fingernails? Nail biting is one of many compulsive habits that may be plaguing you. Nail biting, also known as onychophagy, is an oral compulsive habit. You may have your own reasons for biting your nails and you may understand your triggers that cause you to bite your nails or you may have no idea why you do it and you may have been doing it for as long as you can remember. If at all possible, it will help you tremendously to identify why you do it.

When your habit becomes impossible to control

Sometimes, a person may bite his or her nails under extremely stressful circumstances. I know that when I get nervous and am in an uncontrollable situation, I bite my thumb nail on my right hand. For some mysterious reason, I generally leave the other fingernails alone. How weird is that? There are other people who bite their fingernails because they are too long. Perhaps that is the human equivalent of grooming. In that case, the reason behind the habit lies in evolution and in subconscious human behavior.

When it comes to nail-biting, different people have different opinions. There are those who actually classify it (or, at least, consider it) a mental disorder. In that case, it may be considered one iteration of Obsessive Compulsive disorder. If that is proven correct in those particular cases, the nail biter is not biting his or her nails consciously. The person has no control over the habit, which seems quite disturbing!

[su_quote cite=”Amy Standen”]The pathological nail biter is triggered by driving, reading or feeling stressed out. [/su_quote]

Acquiring the habit from someone else

In addition to the previously discussed root causes of nail biting, another possible reason is watching someone else do it. In that case, it is a matter of imitation. If that is the reason, the chances are pretty good that he or she was young and easily influenced when it started. Perhaps he or she was a child and a family member (mother, father, sibling) was a nail biter. It certainly makes sense that it could happen that way. Children imitate their parents in all sorts of ways. On some level, as children, we want to be just like our parents so psychologically, it stand to reason that we would imitate that parent (or someone else who is close) to become just like him or her.

The negative consequences of nail biting

Nail biting is a bad idea because your fingernails carry germs everywhere they go. You don’t want to put those germs into your mouth, which is carrying enough germs without any help from your fingernails. Germs lead to illnesses. Why would you knowingly do something that you know will cause you to get sick? If that is not enough for you, it is also an embarrassing habit. There is no doubt that other people (at least, some of them) are going to react to you negatively and judge you accordingly. Not only is it embarrassing to be seen with your fingers in your mouth but your fingernails themselves probably don’t look particularly attractive either. You may find yourself hiding your hands because of your bad habit.

Taking action to eliminate the bad habit

Okay, you have identified that you have a problem that you need to eliminate. The question is, how do you do that. There are products on the market that may help. There are products that you can brush onto the surface of your fingernails that taste awful. When you attempt to bite your nails, they will taste terrible. That may or may not deter you. That method doesn’t work for everyone but it does work for some people very effectively. However, if you really want to successfully eliminate the bad habit, you need to determine why you started biting your nails in the first place. As you are on your journey of self-discovery, you may be able to uncover the source of the habit or you may need professional help to resolve the issue. There are people who specialize in bad habits, nail biting among them. For example, a habits coach can be tremendously valuable.


Well, if you are at this point, that means that you have worked hard to get here. You have identified your nail biting as a problem, you have taken action to eliminate the bad habit, and the result that you can now enjoy is that you are no longer a slave to your bad habit. It doesn’t plague you anymore because you came to the conclusion that you are bigger than your bad habit, which means that you have power over it instead of it having power over you.

The Reasons Behind Your Nail Biting Habit
Tagged on:     

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.